B&B owner tells of ‘cannibal’ fear


Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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The owner of a B&B has described the moment she walked into a blood-covered room and came face to face with a suspected killer and his young victim.

Mandy Miles went to investigate when she heard a woman shouting for help from the room of guest Matthew Williams.

There she saw the convicted criminal and the lifeless body of 22-year-old Cerys Yemm, who it has been claimed, he murdered in an act of cannibalism.

Mrs Miles, who owns the The Sirhowy Arms in Argoed, south Wales, said: “I walked into the room and saw lots of blood and a girl lying completely still. I knew at that point she was dead.

“I said to Matthew, ‘what are you doing to that girl, but he replied ‘ that’s no girl’.

“I rang 999 and made damn sure he couldn’t get out of that room. I was in total fear of what he was capable of.”

Last Thursday’s double death is being investigated by Gwent Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The Welsh force is handling what it has said was the murder of Ms Yemm, while watchdog the IPCC is handling enquiries into the death of Williams.

Williams died after being hit with around 50,000 volts from a Taser as police tried to arrest him over his alleged fatal attack on Ms Yemm.

Since then, his mother told the BBC her son suffered from schizophrenia and had not been prescribed medication following his release from prison.

Mrs Miles said Williams did not look like “he knew what he was doing” when she walked into his room in the early hours of last Thursday.

“I seriously had to make sure that girl was not still alive when I went in,” she said. “Otherwise there would have been a battle.

“If she had been alive, I couldn’t and wouldn’t have closed the door. I would’ve had to attack Matthew with the fire extinguisher.

“Now I can never use that room again.”

Of claims the 34-year-old was eating his victim, she said: “I saw nothing like that at all.”

Mrs Miles also said Williams had been staying at the 15-bed Sirhowy Arms since being released from prison three weeks ago.

She said Williams had told her he had been in prison for theft, rather than assaulting an ex-partner.

“He had been really great. I had no problems with him previously,” she said.

“I didn’t have any fear of Matthew. I didn’t know anything about him, who he was or why he was in prison.”

“It is quite worrying I wasn’t told what he had been in prison for,” she said. “I should know who is walking through my door.

“The way people come to stay here is that the council ask, can we book a room. I go ‘yes, what’s his name, his date of birth, any issues?’ That’s it really.”

Mrs Miles said she gets “people from all kinds of backgrounds” staying at The Sirhowy Arms – and not just people who have run into trouble with the law.

She said: “I was upset to hear us spoken about that we’re just some sort of bail hostel where we tag people.

“I wouldn’t do that, I run it with my kids and my grandchildren come round.

“What we’re doing here is really positive. We try and help people who are homeless – which can be for many, many reasons such as a fire or eviction.”

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has since confirmed it will be holding a serious case review into the circumstances surrounding William’s release.

Islwyn MP Chris Evans supported the MOJ’s decision.

He said: “It’s right they should investigate. A serious crime was committed within 30 days of a prisoner’s release.

“Why was he unable to get a prescription for his condition? The real issue is the treatment of people with mental health issues in prison. There’s very little support.

“There are now three investigations, one by Gwent Police for the murder, one by the IPCC into the death of Mr Williams and now there’s an MOJ investigation.

“We need to find out what lessons can be learned.”

In the meantime, floral tributes continue to be laid outside the Sirhowy Arms as well as messages of support for Ms Yemm’s devastated family.

More than 3,500 people have joined a Facebook group commemorating the former Oakdale Comprehensive pupil’s life.

Site user Maxine Stuart wrote: “I would just like to send my sincere condolences to this poor girl’s family and friends.

“I had a family member killed by a paranoid schizophrenic 10 years ago and still nothing has changed.

“This should never have happened to this poor beautiful girl.

“May she be at peace now.”

Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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